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Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Wondrous New Eden

My paradise home has found the perfect new steward for itself but you are still
very welcomed to take a getaway arm chair tour. 


As the trees lining the long driveway give way to an open expanse of lawn and buildings, you almost expected a Hobbit with pipe in hand to wander down the path to greet you.  Or a talking billy goat or two. 

First glimpse on a bright August day

The cabin on a misty Spring morning

Back porch leading into the kitchen

 The fascinating hand-built oven/grill/smoker right outside that kitchen entry
Cabin in late Autumn mantle

South end in late Autumn with wide cellar door to roll in winter projects.  The dining gazebo is shown off to the right, not far from the stone BBQ. 

A quiet, peaceful morning on the back porch after a new fall of snow.
The cabin with a teasing view of the little barn behind it
It was becoming clear that this was no Lincoln Log cookie cutter cabin and I felt a growing need  to find out more about this couple who had built everything here by hand.  As is sadly usual, there had been no background information shared by the seller.  In this case, it was a sole surviving adult child with a full life elsewhere and no interest in the place or who bought it.  I would have to rely on synchronicity as usual to piece together all the details.  Over the course of the next year, it would become a story of people that I would have loved to befriend personally.

Although I have owned and restored or enhanced many eccentric or whimsical properties in the last 35 years, I realize that this one will remain my personal snow-globe when I move on, much the way that Heidi treasured the snow-globe that reminded her of the idyllic Alpine cabin and life that she had shared with her loving grandfather.  

This place deserves someone who can gently restore the grounds to its builders' intent; perhaps an artist, a writer, a photographer, a new Thoreau on a new Walden Pond. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Within the Log Walls

While the efficient 950 square feet within the log cabin may not qualify as a "tiny house", it is nonetheless comfortable and relatively easy on cleaning and heating costs.  It became apparent that the original builders had an early awareness and desire for self-sufficiency and it wouldn't take much to go off-the-grid with the property.  My brother was the first to notice that the main panel in the full basement had a generator interface for emergency power outages.  

The main floor includes the kitchen, dining area, hearth (with an extra flu for a wood cook stove), sitting room, an office/study and a half bath.  The half story upstairs includes a bedroom, full bath and plenty of storage closets.  With the exception of my minor alterations to the first floor half bath, all the walls are naturally finished solid wood planks.


The sitting room 


A place to curl up with a good book for an evening's reading in view of the hearth.

 As a former woodworker, I was duly impressed that the interior of the main cabin's walls were  finished with solid cherry planks; a small fortune's worth.  All the wood to construct this cabin had been cut from its 38 acres and skidded to the site by one of their four resident cows.   

All the woodwork had been fastened with forged square-cut nails.  The original builders obviously had a patient passion for finding authentic materials, long before the advent of the Internet.    

The Hearth

The stone for the hearth and chimney was once part of a 1700s fort built at the Northern end of Lake Champlain.    The slate floors run throughout the sitting room, hearth and kitchen. 

The Kitchen

Being that all authentic log cabins can run a little dark, I installed LED strip lighting, concealed behind the beam overlooking the cabinets.   It made a big difference to these aging eyes.  

This above photo was taken midway through a paint technique to lighten up the cabinets while highlighting their rough-cut materials.   The counters are solid maple blocking and they will dazzle again after a refinishing.  

While not a huge bank of cabinets and counters, they are quite ample for the regular good cook.  Visitors delight over the tall copper and brass ventilation hood over the stove.

I had Darrell make three floor to beam cabinets in the dining area for extra pantry space.  One and a part of these can be seen to the far right in the photo below.  They are unfinished and now waiting for a new owner to decide whether to stain them natural or perhaps add some color with a dye or a rustic paint technique.

With the photo above, it is a good time to mention the heating system.  You are looking at it on the left side of the photo.  It is called a Monitor and I was absolutely amazed at how well this fan-driven heating oil burner works.   This one unit kept the main floor and upstairs nicely heated.  There is another similar unit in the basement.  There is also a back-up wood burning stove in the full height basement.

A fully grown photo-bomber demonstrates the thickness of the stair treads to the second floor. 

Above, the heavy exterior door leading into the kitchen/dining area.   The third of Darrell's new floor to beam pantry cabinets now sits to the left of the produce baskets.  The basement also has a separate cool room with bins and shelves to store more canning and harvested apples and root vegetables.  

Here, you will always have the curiously soothing feeling that you have stepped back 200 years in time. 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Garage Explored

The 2 car garage is a roomy 30' by 30' with two swing-out coach doors.   One of these doors had been cleverly adapted to a remote-controlled automatic opener.  

There is also a freestanding chimney to accommodate a wood-burning heater inside. 

Ample covered space to store firewood at the rear of the garage plus an open-ended shed to store a riding mower, snowmobile, or other equipment. 

Here is an interior view of the East half of the garage, including the large chimney:

Friday, June 12, 2015

The barn

This small barn apparently housed a few cows back in its glory days.  The cows provided for the family's milk, meat and occasionally for work strength, much like oxen.

The barn's roof has declined but the framing is still solid.  I had plans to install a metal roof when I first arrived but health issues took a front seat.  I still envision this as possibly guest house someday if animals do not assume residence  again.  Or perhaps a work shop or artist studio.

Detail of the whimsical barn door hardware so typical of all the buildings.

Staring up the gullet of the long abandoned manure removal system.  I had thought about restoring this as a surprise-ending ride for any unruly young visitors. 

Wild grapes festoon the sheltered outdoor cow manger.

 The seasonal run-off brook behind the barn.   The beaver preferred it closed off whereas I preferred to keep it running free and cheerfully burbling throughout the summer.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Fauna

It was the wildlife that brought me the most comfort and soul healing here.  It  wasn't too long before I had established enjoyable friendships with some of the local creatures.  

They're all named Rocky:

 The first calling card

 Rocky the Raccoon soon realized that I shared my food and it would show up earlier and earlier each day to beat the other local moochers to supper.

 The plea

The usual "thank you" for another good peanut butter cookie. 

The day that Rocky the "it" introduced her new family and became a "she".  

A grouse feeding on winter sumac fruit.  Photographed through the cabin window.   

A friendly resident of the seasonal brook

A most tiny frog who would come up to visit from his lair in a hollow fence post. 

 Winter resident doe in a snow storm

 Doe executing a fine raspberry

 Wild turkeys on the walkway

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Garden Life

All these garden plants had taken care of themselves for several seasons before I arrived; perfect for a brown thumb like me. 

Above and below - apple blossoms! 

A pollinator visits the rose bush next to the kitchen door.

Catnip ... of course!

Iris, oregano, violets

Everyone loves daisies

Oregano in bloom. Try fresh oregano leaf in your salad -  divine.


Cheerful Chinese Lanterns

Please click on "Older Posts" below for details on this property and more photos.